Gilmore is a 25-year commercial real estate auctioneer andmanaging director of Sperry Van Ness Accelerated Marketing Co.Inc., a well-established auction group that has been disposing ofcommercial properties for the past seven years. With the combinedcapabilities of the Accelerated Marketing division and the othermembers of the new asset recovery team, he says, SVN is also set upto provide services such as loan portfolio sales and workouts inaddition to property sales.

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"We started doing this seven years ago because there is alwaysbank REO at some level, even during the good times," Gilmore tellsGlobeSt.com. During that time, the Accelerated Marketing unit hassold office, industrial, apartment, retail and hotel propertiesnationwide for banks, private investors, institutional sellers,REITs, insurance companies, asset managers, special servicers,receivers and other owners.

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The new Sperry Van Ness asset recovery team includes 20 membersin offices around the country who have experience dating to thelate 1980s and early 1990s downturn, when they disposed ofproperties for the US government's Resolution Trust Corp. as wellas other government agencies and private sellers. In situationswhere liquidation or disposition might be premature, Gilmore says,the team members have expertise in the marketing, leasing andmanaging properties to stabilize the or add value before asale.

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Despite the focus on distressed assets in today's economy,Gilmore points out that the SVN accelerated marketing approach isnot just for troubled assets. Even in the best of times, heexplains, certain types of assets are difficult to sell.

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"If someone closes a factory in a small town, you might have a150,000-square-foot industrial building for sale in anout-of-the-way place where it is difficult to find a buyer,"Gilmore says. "Accelerated marketing gets the word out, createsurgency and gets people to take a look at a property that maybethey would not ordinarily consider." He cites the example of the414-acre site of the former Northville Psychiatric Hospital inNorthville, MI, which the Accelerated Marketing group sold for$31.5 million after the state of Michigan had attempted to sell itthree times with sealed bids but couldn't close a deal.

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Gilmore says that, with nearly 1,000 Sperry Van Ness advisers in150 markets throughout the nation, "We estimate that we have anadviser within an hour of every commercial property in thecountry." The 20 members of the new asset recovery team aregeographically dispersed throughout the US, he adds.

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The SVN asset recovery team is one of a growing number ofinitiatives that commercial real estate services firms and othersin allied fields—such as real estate law and propertyvaluation—have established in recent months to provide services forthe anticipated increase in the number of distressed commercialassets nationwide. Gilmore points out that commercial propertydownturns typically gain momentum about 12 to 18 months after theresidential market declines. Like others in the field, he says thatthe number of commercial defaults thus far has amounted to only atrickle of what it is likely to be.

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